AWS Startups Blog

Smarter Autonomous Driving, One Truck at a Time: FuelSave Boosts Transportation Efficiency

In today’s complex, internet-driven consumer marketplace, it’s nearly impossible to purchase goods that haven’t spent some time on a truck. With that kind of reach, the logistics industry has a considerable ripple effect on the environment and on the cost of consumer items. When trucks burn more fuel, they increase global pollution and shipping costs, which leads to higher prices at the register for the goods we buy every day.

As transportation companies look for ways to maximize efficiency, FuelSave is already on track: “We understand how each driver drives, and we create solutions that will help him change his driving behavior while he’s driving,” explains António Reis, FuelSave’s cofounder and CTO. “We help them to drive better…and to save fuel in the meantime”. Shipping costs in the United States rose significantly in 2018—nearly 40 percent in some sectors—raising eyebrows around the industry. After labor costs, diesel fuel is usually the next highest expense for logistics companies, comprising upward of 20 percent of total operating costs. And as FuelSave’s cofounders know, there’s identifiable room for improvement in fuel efficiency to mitigate environmental effects, reduce costs, and increase safe driving practices among truckers. As Luís Mendes, FuelSave’s cofounder and head of business, notes, “If you can save one percent of all the consumption of fuel, it’s a huge difference for the entire industry.”

FuelSave’s technology solutions track driving data in real time and offer advice to drivers aimed at maximizing fuel efficiency. “It’s very organic. So, you have traffic, you have different weather conditions, and so on,” Reis says. “Our focus is on reading data from telemetry and outputting real-time suggestions that will increase efficiency and safety.” According to FuelSave’s research, trucks that follow their data-driven suggestions are 20 percent more efficient than the average, saving diesel and increasing driver safety.

As autonomous driving looms on the horizon of the transportation industry, FuelSave is also considering its role in the changing logistics landscape. The company has begun by addressing fuel use at the individual level, but it’s always had its eye on wider applications for its technology. “We [first] chose the biggest impact on saving fuel for professional drivers,” says Mendes. “We’ll see how it rolls out with the more and more technology we are developing right now.” In other words, FuelSave is in it for the long haul—pun intended. “Probably fifteen years from now there will be fully autonomous commercial vehicles already, and we want to be a catalyst of change, providing intelligent layers of data and technology for the automotive industry.”

The cofounders of FuelSave envision their company expanding its focus from individual drivers to fleet owners, insurance companies, autonomous vehicle companies, and mapping solutions writ large. As Mendes explains, FuelSave’s technology is primed for scaling. “We don’t need autonomous driving to arrive before we are actually using our product and everyone is using our product. We are gathering this data, we are already developing technology that is being used today, and it will be really useful to accelerate for autonomous driving.” Currently based in Portugal, FuelSave hopes to expand to the United States, which has far more commercial vehicles in use than any other country. As Reis points out, there are more eighteen-wheelers in the States than there are people in all of Portugal. “The market is huge there,” he says, and ripe for change.

Michelle Kung

Michelle Kung

Michelle Kung currently works in startup content at AWS and was previously the head of content at Index Ventures. Prior to joining the corporate world, Michelle was a reporter and editor at The Wall Street Journal, the founding Business Editor at the Huffington Post, a correspondent for The Boston Globe, a columnist for Publisher’s Weekly and a writer at Entertainment Weekly.